Sunday, February 28, 2010

Home Alone

Last night, for a period of several hours, i was at home alone. This ostensibly unremarkable occurrence was in fact so rare that i cannot remember the last time it happened. Of course, i have been alone at night on road trips, and i have been at home alone during the day (as i was recently after my surgery). But i honestly can't remember the last time that i was alone during the evening hours in my own house. (Note: I am callously discounting the presence of our chihuahua in my definition of alone)

This situation required an unlikely alignment of the planets. First, my younger son had a sleep-over for a friend's birthday party. My older son was at his girlfriend's parents' house (not unusual), and my wife was out with friends. I suspect that such situations will occur more frequently, especially when my younger son gets to high school.

Lest this sound pathetic, i must aver that i am quite good at being alone. I had complete control over the television, so I watched Inglorious Basterds on-demand, without having to filter out any of the extraneous background conversations that are typical of a house with teenagers and proto-teens. I did not have to share the computer, and i could turn the sound up and listen to fragments of songs on without piano or cello or violin or Iron Chef America in the mix. i could even read a book in my living room. It probably would have been more enjoyable were i able to open a bottle of wine (doesn't mix with my blood-thinners), and if i could move from place to place without my cane, but i'll take what i can get.

In my current job, i work almost entirely with people in their 20s, and i am often struck by the radical differences in our lives, of which they of course have no knowledge. Probably 80% of the interesting things in my life, both good and bad, occurred after 30. Many of my coworkers, i would guess, spend evenings alone on occasion and they probably either take it for granted or desperately try to avoid it. I suppose "wisdom" is the label we give to the difference between our expectations at 25 and our reality at 50. I wonder if there is the same dichotomy between 50 and 75.

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